Health and Weight Beliefs and Behaviours of Pre-Service Teachers: Considerations and Implications for a Health Promotion Perspective in Teacher Education

  • Michelle Tkachuk University of Calgary
  • Shelly Russell-Mayhew University of Calgary
Keywords: Keywords, Pre-service teachers, health behaviours, weight beliefs, teacher education, health promotion, Mots-clés, stagiaires, comportements liés à la santé, croyances relatives au poids, formation des enseignants, promotion de la santé

Abstract

This project explored primary and secondary pre-service teachers’ (i.e., bachelor of education [B.Ed.] students) beliefs about health behaviours as well as health and weight during their university education at a large research-intensive university in Alberta. Although many studies claim that there is a need for teacher education in the areas of health and weight, recommendations for what such curricula might include are lacking. The present study was conducted with 226 pre-service teachers. Data included participants’ self-reported height, weight, body satisfaction, health promoting behaviours, implicit weight bias, and current weight loss and muscle gain attempts. Results suggest many pre-service teachers have concerns about their weight and shape, and exhibit weight bias. Teacher education focusing on body satisfaction, weight bias, exercise behaviour, and stress management may be beneficial for pre-service teachers to better prepare them to instruct about as well as model health attitudes and behaviors to their future students.

Ce projet a exploré les croyances de stagiaires au primaire et au secondaire (c.-à-d. des étudiants au Baccalauréat en Éducation) sur les comportements liés à la santé, la santé et le poids pendant leur parcours dans une grande université albertaine centrée sur la recherche. Si plusieurs études affirment que les enseignants doivent être formés dans le domaine de la santé et du poids, les recommandations quant à ce que pourrait inclure une telle formation sont inexistantes. L’étude, réalisée auprès de 226 stagiaires, a demandé aux participants de fournir des données relatives aux éléments suivants : taille, poids, satisfaction à l’égard de leur corps, comportements favorables à la santé, partialité implicite envers les gens présentant un excès de poids, perte de poids actuelle et tentatives d’augmenter la masse musculaire. Les résultats indiquent que plusieurs stagiaires sont préoccupés par leur poids et la forme de leur corps, et qu’ils montrent un préjugé face aux personnes avec de l’embonpoint. Une formation qui porterait sur la satisfaction à l’égard de son corps, la partialité envers les gens présentant un excès de poids, les comportements liés à l’exercice physique et la gestion du stress pourrait s’avérer bénéfique pour les stagiaires, qui seraient ainsi mieux préparer pour enseigner à leurs élèves des attitudes et des comportements liés à la santé, et pour en être de bons modèles.

 

Author Biographies

Michelle Tkachuk, University of Calgary

Ms. Tkachuk is a PhD Candidate in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. Her research interests include the development and treatment of eating disorders, teacher health and wellness education, and the process of couple’s therapy for couples where weight related concerns are present. She is also a provisional psychologist in Alberta, specializing in family and couple therapy, and the treatment of eating disorders and depression.

Shelly Russell-Mayhew, University of Calgary

Dr. Russell-Mayhew is a Professor and Registered Psychologist with a research program in the prevention and treatment of eating and weight-related issues. Dr. Russell-Mayhew’s research: (a) focuses on the prevention of eating-related issues particularly in school contexts; (b) considers the risk and protective factors that integrate the prevention of eating disorders and obesity with the promotion of mental wellness and resiliency; (c) uses various and mixed methodological designs to capture both process and outcome; and (d) capitalizes on interdisciplinary knowledge in creating research teams. Her research is informed by clinical and research experience in interdisciplinary team contexts, as well as linkages between her work in academia and committee work with policy-makers and community partners.

Published
2017-12-11
Section
ARTICLES